Otto Von Schirach

Chopped Zombie Fungus

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Otto Von Schirach is a maximalist madman. His warped, unstable beats are constantly under attack by swarms of samples forming parallel polyrhythms. That wouldn't be so dizzying if it weren't for the extra scabrous humor and frequent sudden shifts. In a nutshell, this laptop artist is electronica's answer to Mr. Bungle, which would make Chopped Zombie Fungus his very own Disco Volante. This CD compiles all the material from Von Schirach's three Schematic EPs released in 2002-2003 (Boombonic Plague, Pelican Moondance, and Earjuice Synthesis), including their amazingly disturbed artwork. Three new pieces push the total duration to over 72 minutes, for an overwhelming experience that will have you begging for mercy. The album features two trends. One consists of manic instrumental tunes that remain rather danceable and easy to follow: power techno with lots of booming bass, overdriven beatboxes, and a snotty attitude. Tracks like "4 Rooms 4 Walls," "Invincible Meat Boy," or "Granny Foot Powder" fall into that category, but some cuts can veer into something more abstract and puzzling. The other trend sees Von Schirach ally a vulgar sense of humor that ranges from the childishly obscure to the sexually infantile to extreme complexity and fragmentation. Tracks like "Facelift," "Earjuice Synthesis," "Madame Queef Blizzard," and the first of the three untitled bonus tracks all feature heavily processed vocals, the latter throwing a cheap (but, one must admit, well-deserved) punch at the IDM scene. It must be part of the Otto Von Schirach persona to reach excess in all aspects of the music. It means that Chopped Zombie Fungus can be intellectually challenging -- even stimulating -- and downright stupid at the same time. That said, it's definitely likable, despite the fact that it becomes a bit tiresome in the last third.

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